Our daughter’s surgery and road to recovery: Recovery

We had to head back to the specialist ten days post-op to have the bandage removed and the stitches taken out. While he could’ve used dissolvable stitches, he explained he doesn’t prefer using them as they leave a bigger scar.

From the surgery day up until Kid3’s follow up appointment, she didn’t complain about any pain. I mean, not even once. The anaesthesiologist did place a pain block in which suppressed the majority of pain after the surgery, but only for the first 24 hours. She was prescribed a pain killer syrup which she only had three dosages of. As she wasn’t in any pain, I wasn’t going to give it to her ‘just because’.

Bath time was a little complicated as the bandages had to stay dry and she refused to wear a plastic bag over her hand, so she had to remain standing all the time with her hand hanging over the side, and me repeating, “Keep your hand there” from the moment of putting her in the bath to taking her out again. Funny enough though, once the stitches were removed and she could bath freely, she wanted to wear a plastic bag over her hand.

The very same day as the surgery, she was bouncing around like it was no one’s business.

She did manage to take her original bandage off about three days in, we replaced it at home (only needing to go to the doctor if the bandage around her thumb wasn’t secure anymore). A few days on, she was taking the bandage apart once again and HB had to put yet another bandage on.

That bandage survived the last few days and we headed to the specialist again to have her stitches removed and see that the incision was healing well. The easiest part of the follow up appointment was removing the bandages.

Then came the stitches. I had to hold her hand, the assistant had to hold her thumb in place and the specialist removed the stitches while she fought against us all and screamed.

Everything looked good, her thumb was bending and straightening as it should, and he told us that children were their own physiotherapists, that she wouldn’t need to visit any to gain mobility of her thumb again. We just needed to encourage activities where she would need to use her thumb more often to practise bending and straightening again.

He also mentioned that she might be hesitant to use it for a while and should gain full use of it within the next two weeks. However, if by the end of that timeframe, she wasn’t willingly bending her thumb, we’d need to see him again to see what was wrong.

Thankfully, everything has been good and she has made a full recovery.

The first few days she was weary about bending it, mostly because she (as the specialist explained) was used to it being bandaged in a straight position.

I encouraged her to start colouring in to get her to bend her thumb and for a day or two, she kept switching hands as she started using her left hand for tasks. As her confidence grew, she started using her dominant hand again, and within a week, she has using her right hand again for everything.

She was a little self-conscience to show off her thumb, because as you can imagine, she had been instructed to so many times during all the pre-op appointments, and felt so a few days after the bandage was removed too.

Today, just over two months after the surgery, she has no problem giving us a double thumbs up with a huge smile on her face. She sometimes even talks about S-Day; telling us how we were at the hospital, what bed she slept in and the food she ate. Telling us how the doctor that talks in a Donald Duck voice helped her.

She remembers that her thumb wasn’t right and that she had to go to the hospital to have it mended.

I’m grateful that she remembers details of the positive sides of the day, and not the crying and screaming that broke both of our hearts.

I’m also happy that she walked away from it remembering it in a positive light, and also not developing a fear for doctors or hospitals.

We’re lucky that we did pick up on it early-ish and that her recovery time was quicker due to her age. Although I did come across a photo a few weeks back that was taken at the beginning of February and you can clearly see her thumb bent on it. Queue mama guilt. I tried to find older photos to see if there were any signs there, but none of them showed her hand in clear view.

Still, it happened but at least the ending was sweet and Kid3 made a full recovery with no side effects and additional difficulties.

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